So Jake Tapper — the very model of the modern gossip-obsessed campaign reporter — goes to see a Bill Clinton speech and returns to write a blog post: "Bill: ‘We Just Have to Slow Down Our Economy’ to Fight Global Warming."
Ha! Finally the dirty liberals admit it! They want to destroy the economy!
The post ended up on Drudge, from whence it made the usual rounds of the dingbatosphere.
Only Tapper was full of shit.
As the Clinton campaign rushed to point out, Tapper yanked the quote out of context — a context in which Bill Clinton was making exactly the opposite point. Here’s what Clinton said:
And maybe America, and Europe, and Japan, and Canada — the rich counties — would say, ‘OK, we just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.’ We could do that.
But if we did that, you know as well as I do, China and India and Indonesia and Vietnam and Mexico and Brazil and the Ukraine, and all the other countries will never agree to stay poor to save the planet for our grandchildren. The only way we can do this is if we get back in the world’s fight against global warming and prove it is good economics that we will create more jobs to build a sustainable economy that saves the planet for our children and grandchildren. It is the only way it will work.
So Tapper egregiously misrepresented Bill Clinton’s point, making it into the opposite of what he said. (Incidentally, this is a point Clinton’s made many, many times before.) You couldn’t ask for more clear evidence of journalistic malpractice.
When confronted, did Tapper apologize? No, he just got snarky:
But I suspect the Clinton campaign thinks of the word "parsing" in its more colloquial sense — as in "It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is."
I guess I should defer to their expertise.
Apologies for taking a confusing public comment from a former president about a major world issue and trying to make sense of it.
Can you believe this guy? Can you explain why ABC pays him and puts its credibility behind him?
If you’re confused by clear statements and respond to your confusion by woefully, diametrically misrepresenting them, is it really your place to act like a snotty high school prick?
These are the people who govern our political dialogue.
UPDATE: Well damn. Just after I wrote this I thought, hm, I wonder if anybody else has picked this up? In short order, I discovered that Tapper is already Atrios’ Wanker of the Day and I’d been scooped by Sadly, No! (which out-snarked me as usual), ThinkProgress, and hell, even the righties at NRO and Hot Air realize Tapper is a hack. At least he’s not a slow-ass, lame blogger like me though.
UPDATE: Steve Benen too. And TownHall, which is still pushing the obvious distortion.